July 31, 2016

Introducing the World's Fastest 12mm Lens, the Ultra Wide Laowa 12mm f/2.8

Ultra wide, super fast, and free of distortion (almost), this 12mm lens from Venus Optics is the fastest of its kind.

Venus Optics has announced their UWA Laowa 12mm f/2.8 lens and it has some pretty impressive features. Not only is it the widest f/2.8 lens on the market, but it also boasts great image quality, portable size, as well as "close-to-zero" lens distortion. It has already completely obliterated its $10K goal on Kickstarter (it's currently at over $217K still with 29 days to go), so check out the campaign video to see what all the fuss is about:

Technical Specifications

  • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Focal Length: 12mm
  • Angle of view: 121.96°
  • Elements/Groups: 16/10 (3pcs ED, 2pcs ASP)
  • Aperture Blades: 7
  • Format compatibility: full frame
  • Minimum Focus distance: 7.09” (0.18 cm)
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 0.2x
  • Focusing: Manual
  • Dimensions(DxL): Φ74.8×82.8mm
  • Weight: 1.34 lb (609 g)
  • Mounts: Canon EF / Nikon AI / Sony A / Pentax K / Sony FE
  • Detachable hood

Being the fastest UWA 12mm lens isn't the Laowa's only selling point. Again, it has almost no lens distortion, which allows shooters to capture incredible ultra wide-angle images without the classic wide-angle line bending. Furthermore, it was designed to be much smaller and lighter than typical UWA lenses, which makes it more portable for those that want to use it as their everyday lens. Here's a bit from the press release that explains Venus Optics' design approach:

The lens [includes] 16 elements in 10 groups, including 3 pieces of Extra-Low Dispersion elements and 2pc of Aspherical Elements. This design not only delivers an outstanding image sharpness and controls the distortion to [a miminum], but also controls the chromatic aberration at its lowest level. A floating design is also adopted to ensure good performance even [at] the closest focusing distance (0.18cm). The enclosure of the lens is made of metal to strengthen its durability. 

To get a better idea of what the combination of its 122° angle of view and near zero lens distortion looks like, here are some samples photos.

Photographer Nicky Bay got his hands on the lens and was able to do a quick video preview which you can check out below, but for a more in-depth review, check out his blog post here.

You can preorder the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 lens on Venus Optics' Kickstarter campaign—if you move fast you might even get it for less than its retail price of $950. But, if you don't make it before the campaign ends, the Laowa 12mm will reach distributors and resellers this September.      

Your Comment

15 Comments

The marketing statement "fastest 12mm lens" is incorrect. Arri/Zeiss have been offering the Ultra Prime 12mm t1.9 for quite a few years now. Fix your articles NFS, the industry keeps laughing at you.

July 31, 2016 at 7:18PM

4
Reply

Uhm, no. No it is not the fastest by a long shot. Olympus makes an f2 12mm, as does Samyang. This article is very much lacking research, and reeks of being an advert disguised as an article.

July 31, 2016 at 8:49PM

1
Reply

Olympus M43 12mm 2.0 = 24mm 2.0 (35mm FF size, not 12mm)

August 1, 2016 at 2:06PM

0
Reply
Wing Liu
Photographer
15

Yup

August 2, 2016 at 10:03PM

0
Reply

Yep, Samyang has a 2.0 12 mm lens for a number of years now. Perhaps though, this is the fastest (F2.8) 12 mm FULL-frame lens. So the title of this article would just need a small correction.

July 31, 2016 at 8:58PM, Edited July 31, 8:59PM

0
Reply
Erwin Hartsuiker
CineVideo-NL videographer
512

There's also the Tokina AT-X 11-20mm f2.8 Pro DX which is wider, very sharp even wide open.

July 31, 2016 at 9:08PM, Edited July 31, 9:08PM

5
Reply
avatar
Jonathon Sendall
Stories
1436

16.5-30mm in FF terms for Nikon and Sony / 17.6-32mm for Canon. How is the AT-X 11-20mm f2.8 wider than a 12mm FF lens???

August 1, 2016 at 2:17PM

0
Reply
Wing Liu
Photographer
15

There's also the Pana-Leica 12 1.4, albeit for m43.

July 31, 2016 at 11:22PM

0
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avatar
Arvin Abadilla
Video Producer
91

24mm 1.4 in FF term.

August 1, 2016 at 2:15PM

0
Reply
Wing Liu
Photographer
15

August 1, 2016 at 6:23AM, Edited August 1, 6:27AM

0
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avatar
Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
592

Laowa 12/2.8 is the fastest 12mm rectilinear lens for full frame cameras.
Rokinon 12/2 is a APS-C lens
Rokinon 12/2.8 is a FF fisheye.
Tokina 11-20 is a DX lens
Olympus 12/2 is a M43 lens.
Panaleica 12/1.4 is a M43 lens.

August 1, 2016 at 10:59AM

0
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Steve
1

Olympus 12/2 and Panaleica 12/1.4 are M43 lens.
So only 24mm in FF term.

August 1, 2016 at 2:15PM, Edited August 1, 2:15PM

2
Reply
Wing Liu
Photographer
15

AFAIK the fastest ultra-wide for Full Frame sensors is the Canon 11-24 f/4, so this beats it by a stop.

August 1, 2016 at 6:30AM

0
Reply
avatar
Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
911

Forget the Samyang and Olympus etc. The 12mm Master Prime at T1.3 is the fastest by far.

August 3, 2016 at 12:30PM, Edited August 3, 12:30PM

0
Reply

I think this lens from Phillip Bloom might be: Voigtlander 25mm F0.95mm

August 4, 2016 at 5:21PM, Edited August 4, 5:21PM

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Steve
1

Don't forget the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 also works on FF cameras and it's auto focus. ;)

December 28, 2016 at 4:45AM

0
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